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Gender Equality in Telecom Ads - Good and Not so Good

Posted by Angela Jeffrey on Jul 10, 2017 4:36:50 PM

The new gender equality in advertising movement is hot, as led by the Association of National Advertisers' #SeeHer initiative. Representing all genders respectfully in advertising is also good business, greatly impacting Reputation and Calls to Action. Today's post looks at gender equality in wireless advertising as part of our ongoing industry series.  If you are curious about some of the other studies behind gender equality in advertising, see our resources page on that topic.  Or, if you're interested in ad effectiveness in other categories, see our competitive intelligence resources page.

ABX Research Shows Reputation and Calls-to-Action Creative Scores Improve with Respectful Treatment of Men, Women and Children in Media

So how does the wireless industries portray men, women and children in their ads?  The ABX Gender Equality Index™ (GEI) for the past six months shows an average score of 95 out of 100 for 998 measured ads. This is well below average and shows the industry has some work to do.  

Before we look at some ad examples, see the explanations below as to what constitutes a 'good' score and a 'bad' score in each ABX Key Performance Indicator.  For more details on methodology, click here.

Green box defining ABX scoring.png

Here are two examples of wireless ads that reaped high Gender Equality Index scores, followed by tips gleaned from those that scored poorly:

TracFone - "Lost Dog"

TracFone ad stresses connection between families.

TracFone does a great job of story-telling and gender representation in this top wireless ad. A mother helps her daughter post a sign for her lost dog. A couple soon finds the dog and contacts the owners via TracFone. The story is engaging and strong with a clear Message as TracFone enables connection between the families. All characters reap high GEI™ scores, particularly the females, which contribute to a huge Reputation and Intent to Act (Action). Finally, the spot was just plain Likeable, thanks to smiling women, a dog and a kid!

Tracfone Lost Dog ABX ad scorecard.png

Apple Phone 7 Plus - "My Girl, Welcome"

Apple iPhone Travel ad showing relatives connection.What a glorious ad, worth watching as an idea-starter for using your wireless phone on travel.  A young woman travels back to the “old country” and the locals want to be photographed by her iPhone. Both men and women photograph beautifully, as reflected in the GEI scores below. Note the big Reputation score and clarity of Message. Surprisingly, the Awareness score is barely average. Apple needs to strengthen its branding in spots like this.

Apple iphone ABX ad scorecard.png

Wireless Ads that are not Gender Equality Friendly

We'd love to show you some of the 'bad' ads for gender portrayal, but the wireless advertisers wouldn't appreciate it much! However, the following observations might help:
  • The lowest-scoring ads (GEI scores of 66-75) had heavy sexual overtones. Some were very funny, and may not have seemed offensive when they were produced.  Had they been tested for Gender Equality, however, the ads likely would not have aired.
  • Many other low-scoring ads featured scantily-clad or silly women.  These were likely targeted toward Millennials, who might have found them funny. However, the larger population judged them as offensive in testing.
We can’t stress enough the sensitivity of the gender issue. Pretest your ads, iterate, and test again Inmarket.  In today's climate of political correctness, you can't be too careful.

Are you satisfied with how you are measuring advertising effectiveness?  Is it resonating through Awareness and Message, and having an impact on Reputation and Action?  ABX provides the largest normative database in the industry across all media types. On average you can improve your creative effectiveness by almost 20%

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How the ABX Testing is Done

ABX provides ad effectiveness scores from human respondents against 14 variables and in all media types. ABX Index values are a comparison of the results of an ad versus the average of all ads in the ABX database (100,000+ ads). Click for more information about definitions and methodology.

Topics: Gender Equality Measure

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